SMEs and Ventures

Acumen Gender Equity and Advancement Accelerator Program for Social Entrepreneurs 2022

Acumen’s vision is of a world based on dignity, where every human being has an opportunity to thrive. We are seeking a cohort of entrepreneurs who, like us, believe that considering gender equity across strategies, processes, and day-to-day work improves how we address the problems of poverty, including the disproportionate problems for women in poverty, and thereby magnifies our impact.

Gender inclusion in business isn’t just the ethical thing to do — it’s also good for the world’s economy and sustainability. And rather than add a gender-equity lens after scaling, we believe it’s much easier to build an inclusive company by addressing and prioritizing gender from the start.

To support social entrepreneurs committed to leading the change in gender equity and advancement, our new accelerator will equip leaders with the moral leadership lessons, business skills, and learnings from our portfolio companies to confidently scale their enterprises and embed gender inclusive approaches into their models.

Program modules

  • Module 1
    Visions of Scale for Social Enterprise Business Models
  • Module 2
    Gender equity and advancement as you scale
  • Module 3
    Customer Insights
  • Module 4
    Aligning a Pricing, Sales and Marketing Strategy to Your Value Proposition
  • Module 5
    Operational Model: Team and Partnerships
  • Module 6
    Building Your Financial Story and Model
  • Module 7
    Pitching the Strategic Story of Your Business

How it works?

Over 11 weeks, two members of your leadership team will learn the essentials for building a scalable business model that achieves both profitability and impact. Working virtually alongside your close-knit cohort of entrepreneurial peers and Acumen experts, you’ll design your plan to embed gender equity as you scale your business.

As a participant, you’ll have access to industry and impact-specific case studies, video tutorials and practical readings, and receive invaluable one-on-one support and guidance from our team. Each week, you’ll complete assignments designed to help you think critically about your business model and introduce you to gender-inclusive best practices, and then join weekly interactive Learning Labs alongside your cohort members to give and receive feedback and learn together.

Throughout the journey, you’ll dive into Acumen’s Moral Leadership practices, like Listening to Voices Unheard and Partnering with Humility and Audacity. These skills are vital for any leader looking to reimagine what society and the workforce can look like and drive actionable change.

You’ll also gain access to tools and teachings from Value for Women, including a training on the entry points, policies, and practices that will help you work towards becoming a gender equitable business.

The program will culminate with a virtual closing gathering, including pitch practice and a celebration for all the hard work, lessons learned, and new relationships you’ll take with you as you scale your business in a gender-inclusive way.

Who is qualified to apply?

  • Run a social enterprise (nonprofit or for-profit) based in East (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia) or West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Gambia)
  • Have a demonstrated track record of at least 12-18 months, some market traction, and are preparing to scale.
  • Have a team equivalent to three or more full-time staff

Have a commitment to serving women across three entry points, and evidence of action in at least one:

  • Market (products and services)
  • Internal organization (workforce and policies)
  • Value chain (supply and distribution)

How to qualify?

How will participants be selected?
Applications will be reviewed after the program deadline. If you are selected for an interview, a member of the Acumen team will reach out to schedule a 40-minute video call with you on the Zoom platform.

What stage does my social enterprise have to be in order to participate?
This program is designed for enterprises with demonstrated market traction and a team equivalent to at least three full-time staff members.

Do I need to live in one of the focus countries to apply?
You need to be an entrepreneur running a business with primary operations in either Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the Gambia. You do not need to be a citizen of these countries to apply.

When and where?

When will the sessions be held?
Most of the assignments can be completed online at your own pace before the submission date every week. Your team’s Lead Participants will be expected to participate live during the weekly 2-hour Learning Labs. The calls with Acumen can be scheduled at times that are mutually convenient for you and your advisor.
Where will the sessions be held?
This is an online program. The weekly Learning Labs will be hosted virtually on the Zoom platform. You should have a stable internet connection and the ability to participate in video calls.

What are the program dates?
The program runs from April 21, 2022 to June 30, 2022. VISIT THE OFFICIAL PAGE TO APPLY

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